How to Design a Kitchen Using the Golden Triangle Principle

Mon 23 Mar 2015


A well designed and efficient kitchen can add a significant amount of value to any home. When you do decide to renovate your kitchen, the first thing to consider is the layout and the best way in which you can use the space available.


The Golden Triangle principle is something that architects and interior designers have used for decades to create the perfect kitchen layout. Although it has quite an exotic name, the philosophy is rather simple - the three objects used the most in a kitchen should be place in three major focal points of the room.


In the majority of households, the three kitchen objects used the most are the oven, the sink and the fridge. The lines between these three objects should therefore make up what is also known as the “work triangle”. The theory suggests that when the oven, sink, and fridge are in close proximity, but not next to each other, the kitchen is more efficient to use, and wasted steps are cut out.


Obviously there are some exceptions to the rule, when kitchens only have one wall, for example, but efficiency can still be achieved when a triangle is impossible to create, just by correctly configuring the above three items.




The Golden Triangle principle was originally developed in the 1940s, to maximise the efficiency of available kitchen space between the most used work spaces: cooking (oven), preparation (sink), and food storage (fridge).


The University of Illinois’ School of Architecture came up with the “work triangle” in order to “emphasise cost reduction by standardising construction”. It was basically designed to maximise the efficiency of a one cook kitchen and the space available.




The Golden Triangle is applied using the following rules of thumb:


  • All sides of the triangle should be more than 4 feet long and less than 9 feet long.

  • When all the sides of the triangle are added together, they should equal between 13 and 26 feet.

  • There shouldn’t be any major traffic flow through the center of the triangle.

  • Cupboards and other appliances should not intersect any side of the triangle by more than 12 inches.

  • A full height appliance or cupboard should not come between any two focal points of the triangle.

The kitchen can often be the most sociable room in the house, as it is where a family gathers at the end of the day and dinner parties are often held. The Golden Triangle principle can help make sure that the number of people in the work area of the kitchen is reduced.


If you want to check whether the layout of your kitchen is as efficient as possible, simply draw your kitchen down on paper, and draw a line between the sink, fridge, and oven - you may find that your kitchen already utilise this layout. If not, you may want to consider redesigning it in order to make it more user-friendly.




Once you have your Golden Triangle in place, it is important not to forget other aspects of your kitchen layout. Put your dishwasher next to your sink, and place your bin within easy reach of your dishwasher, oven, and food prep area.


Consider the smaller details of your design too, by storing pots and pans in a cupboard next to the oven, utensils in a drawer near the work preparation area, and crockery near your kitchen table. The small details will turn your kitchen into the most efficient and user-friendly work space available.